Noted historian Walter R. Borneman brings to life an epic struggle for a continent—what Samuel Eliot Morison called "truly the first world war"—and emphasizes how the seeds of discord sown in its aftermath would take root and blossom into the American Revolution.
Few wars have had a more decisive effect on international relations and national development. The French and Indian War resulted in France's expulsion from almost all of the Western Hemisphere, except for some tiny islands in the Caribbean and St. Lawrence. Britain emerged as the world's dominant sea power and would remain so for two centuries. Finally, within a generation or two the vast debts incurred by Whitehall and Versailles in waging this war would help to stimulate revolutions in America and France that would forever change world history.
In September 1756, fifty American soldiers set off on a routine reconnaissance near Lake George, determined to safeguard the upper reaches of the New York colony. Caught in a devastating ambush by French and native warriors, only a handful of colonials made it back alive. Toward the end of the French and Indian War, another group of survivors, long feared dead, returned home, having endured years of grim captivity among the native and French inhabitants of Canada.
Pieced together from archival records, period correspondence, and official reports, Hodges' Scout relates the riveting tale of young colonists who were tragically caught up in a war they barely understood. Len Travers brings history to life by describing the variety of motives that led men to enlist in the campaign and the methods and means they used to do battle. He also reveals what the soldiers wore, the illnesses they experienced, the terror and confusion of combat, and the bitter hardships of captivity in alien lands. His remarkable research brings human experiences alive, giving us a rare, full-color view of the French and Indian War—the first true world war.
What began in 1754 with a French victory—the defeat at Fort Necessity of a young Lieutenant Colonel George Washington—quickly became a disaster for France. The cost in soldiers, ships, munitions, provisions, and treasure was staggering. France was deeply in debt when the war began, and that debt grew with each year. Further, the country’s inept system of government made defeat all but inevitable. Nester describes missed diplomatic and military opportunities as well as military defeats late in the conflict.
Nester masterfully weaves his narrative of this complicated war with thorough accounts of the military, economic, technological, social, and cultural forces that affected its outcome. Readers learn not only how and why the French lost, but how the problems leading up to that loss in 1763 foreshadowed the French Revolution almost twenty-five years later.
One of the problems at Versailles was the king’s mistress, the powerful Madame de Pompadour, who encouraged Louis XV to become his own prime minister. The bewildering labyrinth of French bureaucracy combined with court intrigue and financial challenges only made it even more difficult for the French to succeed. Ultimately, Nester shows, France lost the war because Versailles failed to provide enough troops and supplies to fend off the English enemy.
Brecher provides an unprecedently full-scale analysis of the political, military, social, and economic conditions of mid-18th-century France and its North American colony, New France. That analysis also examines the direct connection between those internal conditions and the results for France of the war that ended in 1763. In doing so, Brecher assesses France's military strategy and major battles in Europe and America, as well as the diplomatic goals Versailles set for itself in the conduct of the war. Further, he describes why France concurred in leaving not only Canada, but also the vast Louisiana territory, to be divided between England and France's belated wartime ally, Bourbon Spain. Finally, Brecher explains the longer-term implications of the war for North American development and for the future of France. This is an important study for students and scholars of French and colonial American history and for the broad reading public, as well as those interested in the more recent Quebec problem.
"I move that we camp here for the night. All in favor say 'aye.' The motion's carried unanimously."
With that the tall boy threw off the pack that burdened his shoulders, set his gun up against a friendly tree and proceeded in other ways to relieve himself of the restraints under which he had toiled up the steep mountain side since early morning, with only now and then a minute's pause for breath.
"This is a good place to camp in," he presently added. "There's grazing for the mules, there's timber around for fire wood and I hear water trickling down from the cliff yonder. So 'Alabama,' which is Cherokee eloquence meaning 'here we rest.'"
The party consisted of five sturdy boys and a man, the Doctor, not nearly so stalwart in appearance, who seemed about twenty-eight or thirty years old. Each member of the party carried a heavy pack upon his back and each had a gun slung over his shoulder and an axe hanging by his girdle. There were four packmules heavily laden and manifestly weary with the long climb up the mountain.
As the boys were scarcely less weary than the mules they eagerly welcomed Jack Ridsdale's decision to go no farther that day, but rest where they were for the night.
"Now then," Jack resumed as soon as he got his breath again—a thing requiring some effort in the rarefied atmosphere of the high mountain peak—"we're all starved. The first thing to do is to get a fire started and get the kettle on for supper. If some of you fellows will unload the mules and get out the necessary things I'll chop some wood and we'll have a fire going in next to no time."
With that he swung his axe over his shoulder and stalked off into the nearby edge of the wood land. There with deft blows—for he was an expert with the axe—he quickly converted some fallen limbs and dead trees into a rude sort of fire wood which the other boys shouldered and carried to the glade where the Doctor had started a little fire that needed only feeding to become a great one.
During their laborious climb up the steep mountain side the party had found the early November day rather too warm for comfort; but now that the sun had sunk behind the mountain, and evening was drawing near, there was a sharp feeling of coming frost in the atmosphere, and as it would be necessary to sleep out of doors that night with no shelter but the stars, Jack continued his chopping until a great pile of dry wood lay near the fire ready for use during the night.